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Management Branding (MB): Performance Improvement through Contextual Managerial Behavior Development

Extract from: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management (published in Vol. 60, No. 5, 2011, pp. 529-543), the official journal of World Confederation of Productivity Science (Canada)

”The reflective practice piece is authored by Posteuca, and covers his distilled experience of lean thinking and bringing about improvement in practice; experience that has been encountered through his work as a management consultant. The essence of the advocated approach is for management to adopt a consistent approach to change and improvement – management branding he calls it – and not to simply chase after the latest fashion. What seems commonsense to state is clearly not so easy to achieve – hence the need for his insightful contribution”.
Editori IJPPM, Emerald UK: Tom Burgess, John Heap


The purpose of Management Branding is to improve business strategies approach by performance improvement through contextual managerial behavior development. Management Branding is the result of deep analysis and observation taken in many multinational companies, especially in the automotive industry.

Management Branding is the answer for the harrowing questions like: ”What is wrong with our implementation of Lean Principles?”. I have used various methods of scientific research (definition and checking of assumptions, field research, laboratory research, questionnaires and interviews).

Often partial failure of key performance indicators derives from the managers’ behavior. Often managers are frustrated at the end of the assessment period because of total or partial failure of key performance indicators. Often managers seek too old solutions, valid in the past but inappropriate for current decision challenges. Too often managers rely on past experience for today necessary decisions and till making decisions based on preconceived ideas is no more than one step.

Management Branding definitely has social implications as “calming down the organizational climate” and increasing the chances of meeting key performance indicators. Understanding business and social character and wise use of Management Branding in everyday life of companies create premises for strategy improvement in companies of any industry and all around the globe.

Management Branding promotes new concepts such as: management team by contexts, desirable contextual behaviour, contextual behavioural strategy, etc.

We have chosen to use the term “branding” because of its ability to capture the substance of a company so that any stakeholders benefit this membership. So, in our opinion, Management Branding should be understood as a mark of confidence which makes the company unique and representative especially in the eyes of its own employees. MB is about each relevant aspect of the reality of working in an organization to achieve that level of acceptable concentration, consistency and involvement of managers in relation to values and goals of the company expected by any stakeholder.

Like any other company’s brand, MB is a perception too and needs marketing strategies, by product and by services, communication strategies and public relations for the perennial values of the company filtered by the needs of the business context.

In our opinion, MB allows stakeholders to create emotional links between them, resulting in intensification of relations and a greater loyalty.

MB allows stakeholders to define themselves through tangible examples of managerial behaviors consistent with company values and contexts. Thus MB becomes a social and psychological force, an element of legitimacy, an intangible asset, a power of structuring the realities of the company. The value of the intangible asset MB may increase or decrease a company’s management reputation. MB also supports the overall company’s brand by contextual managerial behaviors that reflect the promise of the overall brand.

In many companies, lean principles are still applied only to production departments while support managers still do not fully help internalize lean principles across the company. Half of the company uses Lean principles (production departments) and the other half of the company is still traditional (flow of information in support offices).

In conclusion, from our point of view, we need MB because of two main reasons:
1. Behavioral managerial identity in terms of Lean principles and company values for all managers (both types of departments: production and support);
2. Maintaining results (current standards) and their constant improvement, using expected managerial behavior (”brand”), regardless of business contexts, in order not to assist at the volatilization of lean results previously obtained.

So, we need to…
…develop managers that understand, live and learn a culture focused on people and support productivity, quality, innovation & learning, leadership and growth;
…understand the implications of the management group identity cohesion for the achievement of congruent objectives: market – company – management – operator;
…continuously unlock and capture the creative sides of all employees (especially operators).

…positioning MB in the context of managerial initiatives of productivity and quality;
…understanding MB;
…understanding basic MB concepts and processes.

Management Branding is a managerial system that, by an integrated approach, creates and synchronizes, for the application, contextual managerial behavioural identities in order to increase organizational productivity and/or economic growth.

 MB is the democratic managerial product of organizations in which all their managers work to constantly improve it and refer to the constant creation and recreation of contextual behavioural managerial identity as an integral part of the company’s culture. Top management is the creator of a company’s culture. The Central written Document – agreement of managers’ contextual behavioural strategies for the next period is created starting from the highest level up to the last managerial level – the future public behaviour declaration. Each company manager will have a Behaviour Guide adapted to the challengers of the Business for the next period. The behaviour of each manager is harmonized with all the behaviours of his/her manager colleagues and subsequently with the operator colleagues in order to achieve the targets of the company’s performance indicators for the reference period;
MB is an intangible asset delivered inside and outside the organization depending on the lifecycle of the managerial team, shareholders, business processes, business as a whole, business products and services and market segments (clients, providers, competitors);
 The managerial product MB is the one that will help the management in the design, testing, implementation and constant and consistent improvement of productivity, quality, innovation, leadership and growth;
 MB answers each manager and managerial team the question: what is the current company’s context and how should I or we behave in order to achieve the company’s current and future objectives having as reference points the company’s mission, vision and values;
 MB is an approach to the effects of Mura losses (irregularities in operators’ operations) and Muri losses (overloading of equipment or operators). The root of the causes of both types of losses may also be, among others, managers’ ‘deviant’ contextual behavior;
 MB is a constant activity and does not refer to the managers’ annual general evaluation;
 MB is implemented by the management team. This, in turn, leads to certain expectations of behavior set out in policies and strategies (based on the values espoused within the MB) and these policies and strategies are implemented by ”change agents” such us Kaizen facilitators.

We can have a good mission, a good value nucleus, a good vision and strategy, a good measurement system, good objectives, but in order to achieve objectives through people and initiatives we need to answer the question: how must our managers behave over the next period in order to achieve the established performance level? We proposed what we want to do, we possibly have performance indicators established up to the individual level, but do we have the managerial team that can implement the plan second by second? MB is created within companies in order to have a contextual and synchronized managerial behavioural identity transmitted to absolutely all company’s managers in their relation with the employees and stakeholders depending on the context of that particular period within the company. Absolutely all managers must internalize and accept the company’s strategic directions. We need a group behavioural cohesion at the manager level and then at the level of the whole company. The importance of this behavioural cohesion creates the need to allocate material resources and time. The stake is the non-implementation in totality of a good, possibly genial strategy.

In what contexts will company managers be placed to meet the strategy KPIs? Are they prepared to cope with them? Are they at least aware of what comes next? What must their behavioural identity be? There is a split between Strategy and Balanced Scorecard in many companies. Many times we forget to analyze the current or future behavioural potential of managers and all employees in order to achieve the full implementation of strategies.

pozitia MB

So, why MB ? In order to boost: productivity, quality, innovation & learning, leadership and growth to the maximum.

The MB framework focuses initially on establishing further expected behaviors of all employees for each family of products/ services (strategic objectives), using the contextual behavior approach at management level, using the ”change agents” in order to have the expected impact on all operators. In the second phase, it focuses – at the organizational culture and business values level – on the integration of behaviors from the first phase in the company’s medium and long term strategies at an acceptable level of productivity, quality, innovation & learning, leadership and growth. In our view, the term “acceptable” refers to the level supportable by all stakeholders at that time.

framework MB

The MB processes, integrated in managers’ working practices, transform the organization
…from the ‘episodic’ resolution of a problem through one manager’s individual behaviour;
…to the ‘continuous’ adaptation and application of the pre-established contextual managerial behavioral identity at the operational level.

capacitatea MB

Steps of the MB process: from reactions to internalization.
Step 1: retention reactions
Step 2: MB initiatives
Step 3: pilot MB
Step 4: zonal MB
Step 5: MB check
Step 6: continuous integration of MB

pasi MB

Benefits of MB at the individual manager level:
 Increase of knowledge and abilities to work with people of individual managers in line with the company’s direction;
 Positive attitude and solid moral and ethical values – basis for the development of individual contextual behavioural identity capacities (prior verification through other managers of future individual behavioural identities);
 The identity of individual behavioral capacities contributes to the improvement of the organization capacity at the team, company and company group level;

Benefits of MB at the Managerial Team level:
 The increase of knowledge and abilities of the identity of contextual managerial behaviours at the individual manager level leads to the increase of the capacities to cope with foreseeable and unforeseeable contexts of the whole managerial team;
 When the members of a managerial team are constantly preoccupied by the identity of their contextual behaviour, the behavioural capacity of the managerial team is improved;

MB benefits at the Company level:
 In order to register sustainable increase and achieve competitive advantages, a company’s organization capacity focuses on the following main aspects:
 Improve internal processes and systems;
 Mainly develop operators’ professional competences;
 Mainly develop managers’ behavioural competences;
 Design innovative strategies;

Organizational capacity to develop, redesign, constantly disseminate and incorporate new contextual managerial behavioural identities, related to market stimuli is essential when we confront: transition to new markets, fast physical and wear of products/services, extreme competitiveness, financial upsetting, etc.

Benefits of MB at the Company Group Level:
 The creation of collaboration networks between company managers and company group managers can stimulate the creative potential of contextual managerial behavioural identity and that of organizations in order to take advantage of the new enormous opportunities of understanding and intercultural standardization;
 Total capacity of company’s contextual behavioural identity = Managers’ individual and group behavioural identity + Operators’ individual and group behavioral identity.

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The top management of the companies must take constant care to create a favourable intellectual atmosphere for the manifestation of desirable managerial behaviours from one context to the other. We need constant and focused managerial behavioural innovations and improvements.

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